Most leadership training programs are designed for ease of operational delivery within an organization, not for habit formation. They are event-based trainings, meaning that the training takes place over a day or two.
In a traditional one-day or two-day long workshop, you’ll increase your knowledge. You’ll learn several key insights and be excited to implement the 5-10 new learnings into your leadership toolkit immediately. Inevitably, you won’t be able to put all of these new learnings into action.
Leadership training is aimed at giving leaders new skills — at helping them change their behaviors to go from being a top individual contributor to a leader of people. As a leader, your success is dependent on the success of the people you’re leading. It’s quite a shift in perspective.
Simply learning what to do over the course of one to two days doesn’t lead to acting differently in the long run.
Habit formation doesn’t just happen. Our brains aren’t wired to adopt a new habit that quickly. No matter how good and engaging the presentation is, habit formation takes time. It occurs when a new action, like the leadership skill of listening with intention and attention, is practiced over and over.
Each time you practice listening in this new way, neurons in your brain are firing and creating a new neural pathway. The more you practice, the stronger the neural pathway becomes and the easier it is for you to listen.
As aspiring leaders, you are committed to challenge the status quo, to achieve results and not excitement, giving your leaders the tools and skills to transition from individual contributors to powerful leaders, We centered our approaches to a number of phases, which are:
This is where the training on a new skill is delivered to a group of leaders. Leaders learn the skills, as well as why they are valuable and how they can, theoretically, be applied to the workplace.
It’s in this phase where leaders practice applying the new habits. It happens during in-training application and through real-world application.
In-training application occurs in the moment the leaders learn a new skill. It’s key to put them into practice applying the skill right away. Ideally, you’ll spend 60-80% of the time applying the new skill and reflecting on how it can be improved. By doing this, you are activating the neural pathway and strengthening it.
The second part of the application occurs in the real world, through the completion of a homework assignment. Applying the new skill outside of the safety of the workshop brings a whole new element to learning. It’s no longer structured. It can take a leader out of their comfort zone, which is exactly where growth occurs.
Reflection includes holding a short coaching debrief with the leader to reflect on what worked well and what could be done better.
The reflection phase serves two purposes.
- it holds the leader accountable to completing their homework.
-it allows for the leaders to assess and evaluate how they did and how they can apply the new skills better in future interactions. They likely won’t perfect the delivery of a habit on their first attempt, so this phase is important to reemphasize how habit adoption is a learning process. Even though the leader is not actually practicing the new skill in this phase, the reflection process is still triggering the newly created neural pathway. By the end of this phase, a leader will have visualized, practiced or reflected on a singular habit hundreds of times, turning it from a skill to a habit adopted.
Habit change requires commitment from the organization.
Organizational change occurs when the behaviors of the individual leaders change. It starts right here, by working with your leaders on adopting the habits that will make your organization succeed.
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